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Firefighter recognized for service
Lt. Adam Catcher has helped train dozens of peers through online program

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When NWT fire marshal Chucker Dewar called Lt. Adam Catcher earlier this year to ask him for help moving a piano into the city, the local firefighter gathered a group of friends without hesitation to see if they could all pitch in.

NNSL photo/graphic

Lt. Adam Catcher earned the 2016 NWT Fire Service Merit Award for facilitating an online training program for firefighters in Inuvik, Hay River, Fort Smith and Norman Wells. - Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

As thanks for their help, Dewar tried to leave Catcher and the group with a gift card to dinner. But before the firefighter left, he slipped the gift card back into the coat pocket of Dewar's son-in-law.

"It just shows the type of person he is," Dewar said of his former colleague and recipient of the 2016 NWT Fire Service Merit Award. "He doesn't want reward for anything, he just wants to show that he helps. That's just his nature."

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) hands out the award annually to individuals or community fire departments to recognize the work they do across the territory.

Catcher, who has worked for the Yellowknife Fire Division since 2004, has been a key player in facilitating the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 online program that is offered through MACA. The course gives firefighters in small communities a chance to learn the theory they need before receiving on-the-ground training.

"I'm very honoured by the award," Catcher said, although he insisted he doesn't do the work he does to earn any thanks. "I do it to help Yellowknife. I do it to help the North, because I want to see people succeed in life."

The NFPA online program is doing just that, with 50 NWT firefighters from Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells and Fort Smith having completed the course since its inception two years ago.

"You have to maintain and get that standard in order to be classified as a professional firefighter," Catcher said.

For many years, he said, would-be firefighters across the territory had to travel to Yellowknife to complete a couple of chapters from the course at a time. Now it's all online.

"For an individual who is committed to wanting to get that standard, it's achievable," Catcher said. "They learn their theory skills on the computer, online, and then they take what they've learned and they're shown it practically, hands-on, in their communities."

For that, he gives local fire chiefs and departments all the credit. Without them, he said, the program wouldn't be successful.

Dewar said small communities are challenged by the task of creating fire departments. With Adam's expertise in providing oversight for the program, it's becoming a little bit easier.

"He's done a great job at it," Dewar said. "In doing that, it really assists MACA with the success of the program. It's very well received in the territory and we have good participation."

While Catcher admits he tries to avoid the spotlight, Dewar said it's important that his work is recognized.

"He's a very dedicated, competent, professional individual," Dewar said. "We need that local support and expertise."

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